Transplanting Rosemary into the Garden: How to Transplant Rosemary

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Rosemary plants can be somewhat temperamental growing indoors over the winter, so I was a bit nervous to try transplanting rosemary into the garden. Luckily, it did great and I hope yours does, too!

Every year I buy new rosemary plants because I love the fragrance and the taste in Italian cooking. There’s nothing like my Grandpop’s Chicken (Garlic-Rosemary Chicken) and no one will every convince me otherwise.

At any rate, transplanting rosemary plants isn’t actually that hard. I think the toughest part for me was deciding where to plant rosemary.

Rosemary plant transplanted next to strawberries in the garden
Rosemary plant transplanted next to strawberries in the garden

Once I figured out which plants it grows well nearby, the rest was a snap!

If you’re looking for a few tips on transplanting rosemary starts and young plants, I am happy to help.

Keep in mind transplanting rosemary seedlings is different from transplanting a large rosemary bush or shrub. Unfortunately, where I live in PA Zone 6b, our rosemary never grows big enough to become a shrub. (But I’ve seen it in New Jersey!)

Learn how to transplant rosemary in the garden!
Learn how to transplant rosemary in the garden!

When is the best time to transplant rosemary?

The answer to this question likely depends on your grow zone. If you live within the hardiness zone, you will have more options. For those where rosemary must be wintered over indoors, wait until after the danger of a big freeze before transplanting rosemary outside.

How to Transplant Rosemary

Learn how to transplant rosemary outdoors in the garden for best chances of success.

  1. Acclimate your plant to the outdoor sun and temperatures for a few days before officially transplanting rosemary.
  2. Decide where you will replant rosemary in the garden. I chose to plant rosemary near strawberries and lavender.
  3. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the rosemary root ball.
  4. Remove the rosemary plant from the container and inspect the roots. Trim any that look weak or diseased. When needed, root pruning can actually help the plant!

    Remove Rosemary plant from the container and check the roots.
  5. Loosen the roots a bit if possible.
  6. Place the rosemary plant in the hole.
  7. Replace the soil and pat it firmly around the base of the plant.
  8. Water the rosemary plant without overdoing it.

Transplanting rosemary should be relatively easy but do check on your transplants regularly to make sure the plants acclimate well. Watch for signs of stress and provide care as needed.

Transplanting Rosemary from Pot to Ground… or Not?!

In some zones, rosemary thrives outdoors as a perennial, but where we live, our winters get too cold. Rosemary can actually grow in a pot its entire life if well cared for!

Rosemary plant ready for the garden
Rosemary plant ready for the garden

Some gardeners may try transplanting rosemary from a pot to the ground for the summer, and then digging it up to winter over indoors. Others may simply keep it in the pot year-round.

Still others may just buy new rosemary plants every year if the other doesn’t survive.

Some try propagating rosemary from cuttings over the winter as a sort of insurance plan on the plant. (Taking bets, anyone?!)

Any of these options are fine – no shame!

Do what works for you!

Do you have any questions or tips on transplanting rosemary? Feel free to chat with us in the comments – we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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